China Eastern Airlines A320. By Rob Finlayson

China Eastern Airlines (MU) reported a net profit of CNY4.58 billion ($722 million) in 2011, down 7.7% from CNY4. 96 billion in 2010, due to rising fuel prices and competition from China’s high speed rail system.

Operating revenue climbed 11.65% to CNY82.4 billion while operating expenses increased 15.3% to CNY79.29 billion. Fuel expenses jumped 35.3% to CNY29.23 billion. RPKs rose 8.31% to CNY100.89 billion against a 7% increase in ASKs to 119.45 billion. Passenger boardings increased 5.84% to 68.7 million and load factor was 78.89%, up 0.91 points over the prior year. Cargo traffic volume decreased 1.49% to 1.443 million tonnes.

As of Dec. 31, 2011, MU’s fleet included 377 aircraft, comprising 358 passenger aircraft and 19 freighters. In 2011, the Shanghai-based carrier added 31 aircraft, comprising 17 Airbus A320s, two A321s, two A330-200s, two Boeing 737-700s, three 737-800s, two 777 freighters and three 747s. It phased out nine aircraft, including four MD-11 freighters, two Bombardier CRJ200s and three 767s.

The carrier plans to introduce 200 aircraft by 2015. This year, MU is scheduled to take delivery of 49 aircraft, comprising seven A319s, 19 A320s, five A321s, six A330-200s, two 737-700s and 10 737-800s.